Two members of Code for Asheville attended the Code for America Brigade Congress in Philadelphia last week and had this to say:
“For me, there were two important takeaways from the Brigade Congress. I was pleased to see so much interest in criminal justice (2 separate breakout sessions), but a little disappointed to see that most of the other brigades were focused on discrete software- or web-oriented projects, both relation to criminal justice and other areas. There’s nothing wrong with that kind of project, but I would have liked to see more balance between those discrete projects (like Sunshine Request), more policy-oriented projects (like the policing data), and community projects like the BeLoved computer lab. I think Code for Asheville can be proud of having that balance.” – Sabrah n’haRaven

“A prevailing theme throughout the weekend was how to make Code for America more inclusive in terms of demographics (race, gender, class, income, etc.) but also in terms of technical abilities. There were several sessions focused on inclusivity and on making the Brigades more welcoming to non-tech volunteers. The very name of the organization kind of implies that you need to code to belong which is false. In Charlotte, they have changed “Hack Nights” to “Community Action Nights”. The BetaNYC Brigade has had lots of success by channeling some of their less technical members into user testing and user research. This makes the work of the coders actually apply to real people and the non-coders server valuable roles.” – Scott Barnwell

Thank you, Sabrah and Scott! Looking forward to hearing more at our monthly meetup on Thursday.

Sabrah quoted in Jen Pahlka’s closing talk (photo courtesy of Scott Barnwell)